Legislative Session Update: Conference Committee Process Underway

May 16, 2022

Conference committees are trying to resolve significant differences between House and Senate bills, and the League is continuing to advocate on key city issues.

Conference committees, made up of equal numbers of state senators and representatives, began meeting last week to negotiate and reconcile the final provisions of omnibus bills.

Uncertainty prevails

Given the vastly different approaches to policy and funding issues taken by the DFL-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, many of the bills before conference committees have few common provisions. This scenario has created uncertainty at the Capitol as the May 23 constitutional adjournment date approaches.

Since 2022 is not a budget year, none of the bills are necessary to keep state government functioning. However, many of the supplemental budget bills would provide for new or additional state spending, and all the bills contain policy provisions that are priorities for legislators during a significant election year.

Both the House and Senate have passed omnibus tax bills that will be taken up by a conference committee in the final week of session. Although even years typically produce bonding bills, neither legislative body has passed a bonding bill to date.

What has been and will be done

Conference committees have met but have not made significant progress. Most have completed the process of having staff explain the bills, and some have taken testimony from the public. A handful of same and similar provisions related to transportation and state government finance were adopted on May 12.

Caucus leaders and the governor must negotiate budget targets that guide taxing, bonding, and spending in each area of the budget. They are meeting behind closed doors and will likely release targets to guide conference committee decisions in the coming days. In recent years, the governor and caucus leaders have ultimately negotiated the entire packages as part of a “global agreement.”

League advocacy efforts

The League is tracking provisions in several omnibus bills and has submitted letters for the record to conference committees on the issues that may impact cities.

View the League’s letters of testimony on the following bills:

City action encouraged

The League encourages member cities to stay in touch with their legislators on issues of importance as the session winds down.

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